A community-led housing plan that’s fit for the future

Britain’s housing system is not delivering the homes that the country needs or that people can afford.

The evidence set out in our bold new Greater Manchester Housing Strategy makes it clear that our broken housing market is directly impacting the lives of many of us in this city-region.

The housing crisis takes many forms, and the challenges we face in Greater Manchester need solutions that fit our own local circumstances. Rough sleeping and homelessness are the most visible and damning indication of this crisis. But there are many other challenges, including the barriers faced by young people trying to set up their first home, older people looking for better choices to help them stay living independently and families wanting somewhere stable to put down roots but living on short term tenancies in the private rented sector.

Additionally, we urgently need to reduce the energy demands of our homes and all other buildings to meet our ambitious plans for delivering a net zero carbon city-region no later than 2038, and to have supporting infrastructure in place as Greater Manchester grows.

Our Greater Manchester Housing Strategy identifies safe, decent and affordable housing as our priority – homes to fit the needs and aspirations of current and future citizens.

We want to take a new approach to tackle the housing crisis, to ensure our solutions address the needs of all our residents. We need to embrace new models for delivering the homes and communities we need, while also committing to campaigning for freedoms and funding to help us find a better balance between the interests of developers, landowners and communities.

We launched our Housing Vision in January which set out what Greater Manchester needs from its current and future housing. Our Housing Strategy – the first since the election of Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester – explains how we will achieve this vision, where every resident can have a safe, decent and affordable home.

We want to do housing differently, and by putting together the Strategy we’ve pioneered a model of co-production involving wide consultation with local authorities, housing associations, academics, architects, builders and housing activists.

Part of our strategy is the development of a Greater Manchester definition of affordable housing and the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework includes a new policy commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2037, with a major drive to ensure at least 30,000 of these are social homes.

We’re already on with this and are investing some of the surplus from our £300m Housing Investment Loan Fund to support the delivery of truly affordable housing and tackle issues in the private rented sector including rogue landlords and empty properties.

Some of these issues may require decades of sustained effort to fully resolve. As Greater Manchester’s Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure lead, I will do all I can, working with colleagues at the GMCA and our ten local councils. But we will only succeed with the help, support and commitment of local communities, landlords, housing associations, developers, investors, landowners, the construction sector, utilities, central government and many more.

In everything we do through devolution, we seek to fully involve the people of Greater Manchester, working with local people to deliver a dynamic, community-led housing plan fit for the future of our diverse and dynamic city-region.

Guest Blog – Text Help – Are you supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace?

Neurodiversity is not just about ‘doing the right thing’ anymore.

GCHQ, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Direct Line Group and JPMorgan Chase are actively getting it ‘right’ and supporting neurodiverse employees throughout their employment – benefiting both the employee AND the organisation.

Neurodiverse employees with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome and more, can increase productivity levels by nearly as much as 50% (Siemens) – resulting in increased profits and customer satisfaction.

With many well known entrepreneurs voicing strong support for neurodiversity (Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar, Ingvar Kamprad to name a few), and programmes such as Employable Me creating national awareness, it is no surprise that the term is such a hot topic at the moment.

Neurodiversity in the Workplace. A Free Guide

Are you an HR professional or business leader interested in neurodiversity?  Or are you implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy within your workplace?  This guide is for you.

The power of neurodiversity is in its strengths and the benefits they can bring to an organisation.

Texthelp believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.  This is why we’ve put this compact guide together.

We will walk you through our recommendations in adopting a neurodivergent approach and making sure everyone can thrive in the workplace.

Get your free guide here.

 

Preparing for Hackitt 2019

Steve Douglas CBE, Group Chief Executive, Altair 

I’m delighted to chair the annual NHC/Altair Asset Management Seminar once again. It is so important that northern housing providers have as much access to the policy debates on building safety, compliance and regulation, as London and the south providers do.

This year’s seminar focusses on trying to give an idea of what Senior Asset Directors and Managers should be focussing on to prepare for a post-Hackitt building environment. This will include consumer regulation and the increased emphasis on fire safety in particular, but also all aspects of building safety. The event will cover the expectations of value for money in the procurement of asset management contracts and the continued drive for new technology, when making both strategic and operational decisions on managing assets.

The seminar is for housing associations, local authorities, ALMOS, the public and private sector. It will cover issues that matter to Directors, Managers and Board members, all of whom have different responsibilities for asset management.

In what will be a packed day of strategic insight and practical advice, we are delighted to welcome the head of the Regulator of Social Housing, chief executive Fiona MacGregor, who will give her thoughts on how the sector should be preparing for or responding to what may come from a new government administration, and any policy directions in relation to consumer regulation and the implications for building safety.

Angela Connelly and Anna Furlong, both senior members of Fiona’s team, will also join the conference to discuss the practical implications for compliance with regulatory requirements. Delroy Beverley from Nottingham City Homes, will talk about how they are responding to building safety, post Grenfell. The wide-ranging implications affect not only those directly responsible for management of property, but board members, development directors and housing managers as well.

There will be expert analysis from senior practitioners in the sector, including, Kevin Williams from Guinness who will consider the arguments for and against stock rationalisation, and how to make a business case for boards and stakeholders.

Together’s George Paterson and Altair’s Michael Appleby will examine where the sector is now on the use of new technology and how some organisations are revisiting their approach to planned and reactive repairs to drive better value for money and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

We will round up with a legal update from Ward Hadaway on The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and what could be the next big pressure on Asset Directors’ priorities and budgets, and a look at how one housing association, Halton Housing, is responding.

There will be something for everyone. And plenty of food for thought.

I hope you’ll enjoy the day and find it both relevant and useful.

Click here to view the programme and book your place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building your brand and developing an Employee Value Proposition

 

Finding and keeping the talent your organisation needs to succeed has always been a challenge. A recent CBI survey said that 56% of organisations cannot fill the jobs that they currently have available, and 80% of CEOs said that “Talent” was their single biggest issue, more important than concerns about the economy or their customers.

Having a comprehensive and coherent Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can be a fundamental plank of your talent strategy, drawing together your employer brand, your compensation and benefits strategy as well as being an increasingly important statement of your culture and values. A well written EVP provides the basis on which you can build your roadmap to attracting and retaining talent in a tightening market.

An EVP isn’t just about attracting people to your organisation though, it also holds you to account with your current workforce. There’s nothing like the hollow claims of an over exaggerated EVP praising the virtues of your workplace, that bears no relation to the reality of working for you, to have the opposite effect on your retention. Expectation must match reality, even if we ‘polish it up a bit’! It’s a way of ensuring your managers understand “the way we do things around here” and can contribute to their development. Managers play a vitally important role in creating the cultural reality, away from the lofty ideals of the HR and marketing teams. Without your managers reflecting your culture and values in their day-to-day interactions with your teams and customers, your EVP becomes a pointless exercise.

Increasingly, organisations are identifying and creating partnerships to improve the effectiveness of their talent strategy through recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), RPO is when a company transfers all or part of its permanent recruitment to an external provider, this could be working with  master and neutral vendors and recruitment businesses, establishing partnerships with Higher Education and Further Education, as well as apprenticeship providers. An EVP will strengthen your partners understanding of your organisation and how they can best work with you. When working in the talent marketplace for you, on the phone, in their advertising, and on social media, it’s imperative that they reflect your values. Your partners also need to comprehensively understand what they’ve got to work with. How far can they go to accommodate a flexible working request, can you meet the career aspirations of the best candidate, will you look at transferrable skills to widen the pool of candidate by seeking experience gained in other markets or industries? All of this can come from your EVP – it’s the public statement of who you really are.

Other considerations, taken from the REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) report: Ready Willing and Able: Can the UK Labour Force meet Demand after Brexit, provide further food for thought:

  1. Focus on the candidate experience for applicants who are less confident in applying for roles.
  2. Re-assess what level of prior experience is essential or desirable for a given role.
  3. Consider whether different working patterns are suitable for the roles being advertised.
  4. Make clear in job adverts any realistic routes for progression within roles.
  5. Work as an individual company, in collaboration with other companies, and through trade associations and industry organisations to myth-bust about your industry.
  6. Allow those who have re-entered the labour market after a lengthy period of unemployment or economic inactivity more time to bed in and adapt to the demands of their role.
  7. Take guidance from recruiters and not-for-profit organisations on realistic expectations and suitable roles for new employees from excluded groups.

Join us at our roundtable in September to connect with HR colleagues across the sector and learn more [link to website].

Heather Salway is Group HR Director for nGAGE Specialist Recruitment.

NCH Resident Involvement Conference – 19th June 2019

Blog by officers attending from Sheffield City Council

Intro

John

Three of us from Sheffield City Council had a day out at this conference in June. We are Shahid Khan, Engagement & Development Officer, Waleed Al-Gulaidi, Community Engagement Apprentice, and John Loveless, Manager of the Community Engagement Team.

We met Barbara Spicer, Chief Executive of Plus Dane and Joint Chair of the event. Barbara tweeted a photo of us with her and Maria Milford, the other Joint Chair, and asked us to write a blog of our day, so here goes.

Barbara told us the story of her career starting off as the girl who made the tea for a Director who she later sat alongside as a fellow Director, which was a real inspiration to Waleed.

Waleed

Today was a brilliant day at the conference Resident Involvement in York. It was my best experience within the working world and I feel I have gained a lot from attending

 

Morning

Waleed

At the start there were 7 different representatives from different housing associations who told us about their business and how they cooperate. There was a debate afterwards between the panel and the audience about stigma and how this affects housing, I found this really interesting because it gave me a better understanding of what it is and how this affects tenants and residents till this day, even though it started over 50 years ago.

John

First impressions of the hotel were that it was very smart and of course very convenient to access, being almost a physical part of York train station. There was a bit of a problem with the coffee machine but we soon forgot about that as Barbara introduced the day and the interesting and varied panel of speakers for the morning session.

We especially warmed to the words from Melanie Rees about stigma in social housing and how we tackle it. Building more social housing, promoting social housing tenancies as a tenure of choice and training staff in understanding stigma, were some of the positive suggestions. From the floor someone said “Stigma starts with how and where properties are designed, planned and built,” which we totally agreed with.

The last part of the morning was billed as an interactive session with the audience, and Shahid, Waleed and I joined with tenants and a manager from the Community Housing Group to talk about what we could do to reduce stigma in social housing. Each table fed back to the whole room on a range of different topics.

 

Lunch

Waleed

During lunch we met the lovely chief executive Barbara Spicer of Plus Dane Housing who was one of the main organisers of the event, she spoke to us about her career and how she moved up the ladder, I found this really interesting as she taught me you can become what you want if you work hard enough. This really motivated and inspired me especially knowing she was once at my level and knowing everybody has to start somewhere.

 

Afternoon workshops

Waleed

After lunch there was various workshops set up, the first one I attended was ‘Achieving Impact in Resident Engagement at Local Authorities’ and was run by Leeds Council, this was really good because we gained ideas that could help our council, for example having electrical billboards around the city about housing news, updated regularly so tenants and residents are aware of what is happening, walkabouts with the tenants to engage with them and annual home visits etc. We have taken these ideas with us and are hoping we can apply them to our housing service in order to improve the service for our tenants and residents.

 John

I learned a lot from the South Liverpool Homes run workshop about their successful scrutiny panel. I especially liked their recognition of the importance of the culture of the panel, investing in training in the code of conduct and approaching people who have made complaints about services to see if they would be interested in joining the panel.

Waleed

The second workshop was ‘Residents Collaborating on Inclusivity’, Lucy Malarkey’s presentation was absolutely fantastic, she had spoken of the company’s downfall and upcoming which showed clear motivation and taught us no matter how many times you fail, you have try over again. Lucy was talking to us about LGBT and also talked a lot about equality, diversity and inclusion which allowed us to see the wider picture. She showed us the training she did with both customers and staff so that they have a clear understanding of how to deal with one and other, I think that this was an excellent idea and could actually be useful within Sheffield City Council. They showed us organisations they collaborated with, for example BME which gave them a good image in the eyes of the public, this is also something other housing associations should think of.

Also, after this workshop Shaheed was able to find them on Facebook and take their email down to help get in touch and promote each other online which will benefit both organisations. We were really amazed by how successful their company has become and what they have done, it is a really good image for their community. We are hoping to do the same.

  John

In the other workshops I attended, run by Great Places and Yorkshire Housing, I was heartened to hear that other organisations are grappling with the issue of how to reach out to customers / tenants who want to be involved but do not want to come to meetings and that paper copies of documents are still available for those who have not yet migrated to digital communications.

 

Final thoughts

Waleed

Overall it was a fantastic experience and hopefully I am able to attend another, we learnt a lot of information, we gained different peoples’ opinions, I got the chance to meet people from different housing organisations and finally we got the chance to see how housing associations are successful and what they did, hopefully we can take this information on board to help our housing services be the best it can for our tenants.

John

This was a rare day out of the office for all three of us, but rewarding and thought-provoking. We came away with some really useful ideas and challenges to take back to Sheffield and to the groups we work with, and we met some really friendly and interesting folks from other housing providers.

Marking the centenary of the ‘Addison Act’

Today marks the centenary of the Housing Act 1919. The ‘Addison Act’, as it was commonly known, paved the way for large-scale council housing and was driven by Health Minister at the time, Christopher Addison.

We were excited to see what our members are doing to mark the occasion, including activity from Sheffield City Council and South Tyneside Council.

 

 Sheffield City Council

As one of the earliest local authorities to embrace council housing, Sheffield City Council has taken the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act with a range of activities including a dedicated webpage linked to the centenary for all news on their 100 years of council housing campaign.

The council have also been encouraging residents in the city to send in their photographs, archive material and recorded memories about their experiences of council housing over the years, some of these have been posted on their Facebook page.

The local radio and media have covered the activity in both the Sheffield Star (Retro feature) and on Radio Sheffield (BBC – Radio Sheffield – Home).

The Lord Mayor hosted a small event at the Town Hall at the last month for some of their tenants including centenarians and tenants who have been in their council homes for over 65 years.  The council estimate that their dozen attendees will have over 700 years of Sheffield City Council experience between them!

Two ‘memory café’ style events have also taken place in the city, the organisation has also been researching archive material to provide a history of council housing in Sheffield to form the basis of an exhibition linking to tenant experiences and memories. Stay updated with the councils ongoing activities.

South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council have a launch event on the 31st July at one of their signature, and fairly new buildings The Word. This will include a morning of speeches and presentations with senior officers including the Chief Exec and Leader of the Council, the Managing Director of the ALMO, South Tyneside Homes as well as registered providers, elected members and other guests.

The morning will discuss the purpose of the law, how social housing has changed over the last 100 years both nationally and locally, tackling the stigma now associated with social housing as well as looking more closely in terms of what has been achieved in South Tyneside around decent homes, non-traditional work and forever homes. It will continue into the afternoon a focus on community engagement and how communities have changed over the years.  Tenants and residents were invited to share their experiences of living in social housing and where they see housing in 50 – 100 years’ time.  There is also be housing themed arts and crafts. This will all form the basis of a longer exhibition which will run from mid-January for approximately 10 weeks.

We know many of our local authority members are building homes for the future, we are keen to celebrate new development through our #OurNorth Campaign. Find out how you can get involved.

Find out more about our Digital Innovation Seminar

Our Director of Member Engagement, Kate Maughan talks us through the Digital Innovation in Housing Seminar taking place next month.

Our digital innovation seminar is taking place on 18th July in Leeds – book your place here.

Digital innovation is now recognised as key to an organisation’s success. Whether it’s bringing in new technology, making the most of existing systems, or using data to better effect, we know that harnessing the power of digital can improve how we engage with our customers, help them to self-serve, help us to support vulnerable people and provide better value for money.

It also presents new challenges – agile working for new IT projects is exciting (and sometimes terrifying!), and we’re dedicating a session at the seminar to supporting you through it.

BT will be there with advice and guidance on the analogue to digital switchover, due to be completed by 2025. We’re only just beginning to understand the impact of this on care and support in the housing sector, both in terms of new technology and how to make sure existing technology and equipment remain fit for purpose. We’ve picked this up as a key area for member support going forward, and we’ll share our findings when we’ve finished the first part of our research.

We’re also looking at the omnichannel approach to customer services – we know our customers want to engage with us in a variety of different ways, but managing this in-house poses its own set of problems, not least in tracking the contact we have with customers and maintaining a high level of service.

Then there’s GDPR – we’re a year down the line, how has it been for you? The Information Commissioner’s Office (TBC) will tell us their view.

We’re seeing an increase in customer portals, and our very own Head of IT and Development, James Fairless will discuss good practice in portals and the new NHC portal we’re releasing later this year.

Last but by no means least, we’ll be looking at cyber security – hardly a week goes by without a security breach being reported in the news, and none of us are immune to this, whether we’re a local authority, housing association, ALMO, global bank or online retailer. Experts from Perfect Image will tell us about the latest threats, how these relate to the housing sector, and make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves.

The seminar is a great opportunity to hear from the experts, and to connect with colleagues in other organisations to pick up new ideas and good practice within the sector (and perhaps have a little collective therapy as well….)

Get in touch if we can help – our seminar Chair Karl Dickman, Product Manager at Home Group, runs a quarterly digital forum for housing organisations across the North and it’s open to anyone starting out on, or in the midst of, a new IT project. Keep an eye out over the Summer for details on HITEX, our IT in housing exhibition, which will be taking place on 24th October (and free for members to attend!)

Kate Maughan, Director of Member Engagement, NHC

kate.maughan@nhc.org.uk

 

 

Crisis communications: what health and safety teams need to know

Dawn McGuigan, Head of Brand and Communications at Gentoo talks through how health and safety teams can work with communications teams in a crisis.

I recently spoke at Northern Housing Consortium’s Health and Safety 2019 conference about how communications and health and safety teams can work together to protect the reputation of their organisation during a crisis.

Here’s a summary of the points discussed.

Managing a crisis in your organisation

The first step of crisis management is to identify your risks. Communications professionals consider incident-led and issue-led risks. Incident-led risks are the things that health and safety teams are most familiar with – fire, gas, risks to life and property. Issue-led risks are caused by the performance of the organisation, behaviour of its colleagues or by the social housing sector as a whole. Both incidents and issues can be generated by internal or external factors over which your organisation has varying degrees of control.

Once the risks have been identified, we prepare for them. Your communications team should have a crisis communications protocol that outlines how they would respond to the most likely risks. The protocol would specify things like who your spokesperson is, include sample media statements that can be easily adapted under pressure, and outline how key messages will be shared during a live crisis.

Your organisation will have an incident management group that includes the strategic, tactical and operational leads that will make decisions about how you’ll respond to and manage a crisis. Communications and health and safety sit at the tactical level, with both teams advising strategic leaders on the appropriate response to the crisis at hand.

The crisis communications process

There are hundreds of theories on how the crisis communications process works but I find that it can be distilled into four phases:

  1. Warn and inform – when we have advanced warning of a crisis (such as extreme weather events or service outages) and focus on giving our tenants the information they need to prepare and stay safe.
  2. Initial response – the ‘golden hour’ (or less now that social media breaks news immediately) from a crisis starting to confirming what is happening to the media and our stakeholders.
  3. Ongoing incident – this is the period during which the incident is active and it can last for hours, days, weeks or even longer. The communications response will include a wide range of tactics to ensure our stakeholders are updated with progress and our tenants have the information they need to stay safe.
  4. Recovery – this is often overlooked but it’s vital that the recovery phase of an incident is handled as strategically and as sensitively as the incident itself.

Throughout every stage of a crisis, the communications priorities are to give our tenants the information they need to stay safe and to protect the reputation of our organisation.

We do that with empathy; showing that we care about the colleagues and communities affected by a crisis. We do it in a transparent way; not shying away from tough decisions or messages (particularly if we are at fault) and being open and honest with our tenants. We do it in context; if we’re working with the emergency services, we follow their lead and ensure we provide consistent information to our tenants. And, we focus on the actions we are taking; reputation is about what we do not what we say so the best way to build and protect that reputation is to do the right thing at the right time.

Working with the media

The media want two things from a crisis event: facts and stories. They want to know the practical details of an incident – What happened? When? How? What is the impact? – but they also want to know about the people affected. It is those human interest stories that will keep the incident in the news long after it has been resolved on the ground.

Dealing with the media on site during a live incident can be challenging. Here are some things to remember:

  • Refer to your communications team – there should be a member of the team at the scene or at least at the end of the phone so refer queries and issues to them.
  • Repeat approved key messages – make sure you know how to get them and that you repeat them if asked.
  • Be aware your comments and actions can be used in a story – journalists will write about the scene of the incident and that might include commenting on the behaviour of the response team or using overheard comments to shape their news coverage.

You should not:

  • Speculate – we need to give confirmed and accurate information and not speculate about the causes or resolution of an incident. That can create panic and confusion.
  • Share information that isn’t public – make sure your conversations about the incident response can’t be overheard by journalists or watching crowds.
  • Be offensive or obstructive – journalists might get in your way or try to get to parts of the site that aren’t safe. Please try to be courteous in moving them along (or get your communications team to do this) as being defensive can make the relationship with the journalist more difficult in the long run.
  • Give official comments – these come from your approved spokespeople only so that information is consistent and authoritative. Journalists will be using social media to find people involved in the incident so please don’t share your experiences online – they can be quoted by a journalist if your profile is public.

Where health and safety teams can add value

Health and safety teams can add real value to the crisis communications response.

During an incident, there will be a lot of attention on the scene from both the local community and the media. We must talk about the physical changes on the site as part of our updates and this where input from health and safety team is invaluable.

If large vehicles are arriving on site, debris is being cleared, tests are being carried out, any noises, smells or disruption is occurring, we need to know so we can tell people in advance. This avoids communities speculating about what is happening and maintains our control of the incident.

It’s also important to remember that when you’re on site and in uniform, you’re representing your brand and need to behave in a manner that befits its corporate values. You need to be mindful of not only how you behave but how that behaviour could be interpreted by the public.

Blocking someone’s driveway, parking on grassed areas, damaging plants or shrubs – these all pale in comparison to the seriousness of the incident at hand but do matter to our communities. If complaints are played out in the media or on social media, they can create an unnecessary distraction from the vital work being carried out on site to keep our tenants safe.

Communications and health and safety teams can make a huge difference to protecting your tenants and your organisation’s reputation during a crisis. If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s to get to know your communications team and understand your organisation’s crisis management protocols now. The scene of an incident is not the place to make introductions.

Meet our new executive team

It’s been an exciting time for the NHC!

Earlier this month, our Deputy Chief Executive, Tracy Harrison was appointed to the role of Chief Executive, and we welcomed a new Executive Director (Policy & Public Affairs), Brian Robson who joined us from Homes England. The new executive team also includes Executive Director, Catherine Wilmot, who joined the NHC last year on a permanent basis following two previous periods covering maternity leave to direct the commercial and operational support areas of the organisation.

Tracy was Deputy Chief Executive for over 3 years and was heavily involved in the NHC’s Commission for Housing in the North and the development of workstreams that have emanated from it. Prior to that, Tracy was instrumental in growing the NHC’s commercial arm, Consortium Procurement, into a service utilised by members across the UK. 

Prior to joining the NHC in 2006, Tracy held a variety of senior marketing and business development posts in blue chip private sector organisations, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods giant, Robert McBride and Sage Software.

Tracy is Vice Chair of The Gateshead Housing Company and a Trustee of Age UK North Tyneside.

She said: “This really is an exciting and challenging time for the housing sector. There has never been a greater need for a strong Northern voice, and that’s absolutely the role that NHC plays in bringing Northern challenges to the fore within the national housing debate. I’m delighted to be leading such a passionate team of people who are focussed on influencing better housing policy for the North and providing outstanding support and services to our membership.”

Catherine is an FCA chartered accountant, having qualified with PwC and spent a substantial part of her career at Accenture managing the financials for their portfolio of government outsourcing and consultancy contracts. 

Her experience ranges from numerous financial director roles in the technology and consulting sector, to a website content management role and director of an online advertising company for children’s activities.

As well as juggling three children, she is studying towards a Masters degree in Organisational and Business Psychology.  And yes, as a true accountant she loves a good spreadsheet!

Catherine said: “My role at the NHC is to direct the commercial and operational support areas of the organisation including procurement, IT, finance, and HR. I passionately believe that the biggest asset we hold at NHC is our staff and each individual’s areas of capability and expertise that they bring.  Alongside ensuring we have the most effective tools, resources and commercial structures, we are able to drive the best value possible for our members across our influencing work, member support, and our services and member savings.”

Brian Robson joined the NHC from Homes England’s corporate Strategy, Performance and Delivery Unit. Prior to this he led the housing programme at the York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation for four years, most recently as Head of Policy and Research.

NHC members may remember Brian from his previous period with the NHC when he was a Policy Services Manager. He has also worked for the National Housing Federation, a large housing association and as a parliamentary researcher.

Brian holds a Masters’ degree in Regional Development and Spatial Planning from Newcastle University and a BA in Politics and Parliamentary Studies from the University of Leeds.  Outside work, his life revolves around family – he has a seven-year old son and he loves cycling, walking and running (all very slowly!) in the lanes around where he lives in Yorkshire.

Brian said: “My expertise is around blending policy, research and communications to achieve positive change – so my new role is an absolute dream job for me.  The vision is to make housing policy work for the North – and it’s been a busy first few weeks listening to members and beginning to develop our plans to deliver on our vision. There’s a strong team here, and I’m looking forward to working with them and our members on some very exiting projects – watch this space!”

Tom Miskell, NHC Chair, said: “Welcoming Brian as Executive Director has completed this exciting recruitment process for the NHC’s senior team. The team will now lead our ambitious plans to build on our influencing work and to improve housing policy for the North and support the membership now and in the future.”